Alabama Football: Why Ole Miss thinks it can win but won’t

Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports
Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports /

Optimism in Oxford, MS, about an Ole Miss upset of Alabama Football, is not delusional. Alabama should win, but Ole Miss could win.

Without endorsing any reason for why the Rebels might pull off an upset, let’s consider why it is possible. And also, why it will not happen.

Chances of an Ole Miss upset of the Crimson Tide begin with Lane Kiffin. Love him or hate him, it must be admitted that Kiffin has one of the best offensive minds in college football. Even with other Ole Miss coaches calling plays; first with Jeff Lebby, followed this season by Charlie Weiss Jr., the architect of the Ole Miss offense is Lane Kiffin.

From Kiffin’s time in Tuscaloosa to Florida Atlantic and at Ole Miss, his offenses have maximized the talent level of each team. This season, Ole Miss is especially good at running the ball. Based on performance against Power Five teams, Ole Miss has the best rushing offense the Alabama football defense will have faced this season. In that stat, the Rebels average 5.36 yards per carry; No. 2 in the SEC.

The Alabama Crimson Tide defense is capable at run defense. The Tide, against ranked teams, is tied with LSU as the fourth-best in the SEC. But as the LSU game showed, some poor tackling is a concern. The Bengal Tigers rushed for a 5.44-yard average, because of a few missed tackles and missed assignments by the Crimson Tide.

So, the Ole Miss rushing attack can cause the Crimson Tide problems. Super freshman, running back, Quinshon Judkins is one of only two SEC running backs to exceed 1,000 yards rushing this season. As good as Judkins has been, fellow running back Zach Evans and Ole Miss QB, Jaxson Dart are both averaging more yards per carry than Judkins.

Why Alabama Football will win

Opposing offenses cannot be one-dimensional and beat the Crimson Tide. Pete Golding and Nick Saban can scheme to slow the Ole Miss rushing attack because as a passer, Jaxson Dart is inconsistent. Dart against FBS teams with a winning record has completed less than 58% of his passes. Look for the Crimson Tide defense to shut down the top Ole Miss receiver, Jordan Watkins, taking a weapon away from Kiffin.

Alabama will want to run on the Rebels. Any lack of success running will be overcome through the air. Bryce Young had a ragged game against LSU, as did the Crimson Tide receiving corps, but the Ole Miss pass defense is vulnerable. Against the three Power Five teams, with winning records Ole Miss has played, opposing QBs have completed 74% of their passes. Bryce will feast on the Ole Miss secondary.

dark. Next. Kiffin has support to succeed Nick Saban

Lane Kiffin will make the game interesting, but the better team will win in Oxford and that is the Alabama Crimson Tide.